Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pretty Crazy

Lots of funny things have  been happening around here, of late. 



This is what I regularly see when I open the door to go out, especially if I have 
stepped out to the car, etc., and then gone back in. 

Yesterday morning, I heard a sound that sounded dreadfully like mice... we had them 
so badly when we lived here before, and the big house finally had to be treated for them. 

I put it in the back of my mind and went on about my day. 

In the afternoon, after I had gone to a meeting and done errands, I came back in. 

Pretty soon, I heard it again... 

tap tap tap 


It was two of these girls tapping on the metal door with their beaks. 

Long time readers will remember the goats used to do the same thing!

Even if they are clear across the yard, they run for the porch when I show my face, and now 
they are knocking on the door!  Animals amaze me. 

Sadly, one of the hens is not doing well, I believe she has upper respiratory, and 
is coughing.  She should be isolated, I know.  She is also staying inside, or close to the 
henhouse.  If this goes on much longer, she may have to be euthanized, and that hurts me, too. 

I am going to dose her with an antibiotic and isolate her in the feed room tonight and see if 
that helps.  

I am going to a birthday party in a few minutes for this little guy: 


Yes, that's our little mascot from the Ag, who turns five today!


Twinkle had shots yesterday, second shots.  Also, a shot of penicillin, as coughing had started again. 
Twink was worn out when we got home, and slept most of the evening on my lap in the recliner. 

Well guess what? 

TWINKLE IS A BOY!!!

The proof was right there when he rolled on his back on my lap. 
Dr. Becker called this morning to check on him, and I told him, and he was very surprised. 
I told him I had seen the proof!  He is going to double check when we go back for third shots in two weeks. 

We did have a good laugh!  You see, I thought Sister was a boy until he was vetted and discovered to be a neutered male. 


These two, Twink and Jester, are still bosom buddies. 


Grandkids Paiton and Jax were here Saturday night, and on Sunday morning, Paiton helped me make pancakes for breakfast.  



She is already my assistant cookie-maker, so now we are learning how to do simple meals. 

Notice she is carefully holding her sleeve back.  



He is such a beautiful boy, but still going after me!


Feral kitten Harlequin will let me get within three feet of her, but that's it. 

She watched me get her food ready yesterday, but when I turned my back, took off to the rafters. 
She and Spooky are eating in the henhouse daily, but I rarely see the other two. 

I need to work on some pictures I took from a distance of some Harris sparrows, who migrate through here and were eating at my bird buffet. 

I'll post them tomorrow after I go to Garnett to pick up Chris. 


Yes, my beautiful Lil is still around!


Friday, November 17, 2017

My Stalker, and the Surprise

We had a day here in the lower seventies, but the bottom 
falls out tonight, and rain, wind and cold come. 

Yippeeeee

I finally can show you my surprise!
Chuck Camlic from the class of '68, 
be jealous.  :-) 



Meet "Thunder", the Calamity Acres farm truck! 

I bought Thunder two weeks ago from our maintenance 
manager at the Ag, who is moving to Oklahoma now that he has 
retired for the SECOND time. 

Ray had him garaged under the pavilion at the Ag, and has used him only 
lightly these last two years.  He is an F250 Ranger, with an extended cab. 

He was green, but two years ago, was stolen from the farm where Ray was 
living at the time, and the thieves tried to paint him black.  When the police recovered him, 
Ray left him duo-tone. 

I tried to get the high school kids to work on him, but could not get a call back, so... 
he spent the last few days at a garage in Leavenworth, having brakes worked on. 

He runs great, and has a little over 75,000 original miles on him.  Yes, 75,000! 

He will now be my feed hauling/wood hauling/going to the dump and recycle center truck, and I 
can keep the Buick in good condition. 

He is wearing antique tags (he is a 1978) model... and I am going to keep him in good shape. 

Thank you so much, Ray, for trusting me with him!


Okay, this is getting ridiculous. 

I now have a stick by the door.  I am being stalked constantly. 


Do not let Cogburn's calm demeanor fool you.  He had just run clear across the yard behind me, and I turned around, and he FROZE.  That beady little eye is watching me. 


I actually was taking care of the ferals, and I had to pick up a handy stick by the old henhouse and gently prod him backwards.  I don't use the point of the stick, I hold it against him on the round side... he pecks at the stick.  I then walked to the patio to get to the deck... and darned if he wasn't right behind me. 

I went into the house to eat something, and came back out as it was getting dark. 

I could not believe it, he saw me from the front of the henhouse, and came over all by himself to intimidate me.  At a run. 


The crowing began. 


I think he thinks I'm vanquished.  Tonight for the first time, 
he even tried to intimidate me in the henhouse as I locked up!


I saw the grey and white feral kitty on the deck last night, so I left a small amount of food... he came very early before the other creatures of the night came.  I was so glad to see him.  I also saw two of the ferals... but I HATE to start deck-feeding again, I'll have everyone at the house all winter. Still trying to think of a better solution!




My Protectress, who is now 11 years old, 
was laying down on the job.  




Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thank You

Thank you, my friends, for reaffirming my faith in humanity. 

All of you to 100% confirmed you were as amazed as I 
with the bird lover who wanted to kill all the birds he considered 
nuisances.  

I did write to him privately last night, before I blogged, but 
why would he answer me?  We have never met, and were only 
friends in the broadest of terms, members of the same group. 

I am no longer a member. 

I appreciate all your comments, both on the blog and on Facebook.

Now, let's not think about it any more, as I can't change his actions. 


Here is something I literally thought I would never see again. 

Lilly, on the bed this morning, the big bed, my bed.  
She is so shaky now I didn't think she could jump up there.
She was watching the road.  
Yesterday, there was a contract Amazon delivery man who came to the gate.  Lilly picked up 
very bad vibes, she was actually trying to attack him.  She has always been our biggest guardian here... Ranger scared people but they should have been scared of Lil.  She disliked the man so much that she chased his truck... from inside the fence.  It took it's toll, too. 

But, because of her reaction, I steered clear of the man after I verified the package.  I trust her. 


Early this morning, I took Shiner, my son's bulldog, to the vet.  He had a follow-up to his entropion 
operation on his eyes last week.  His eyes are amazingly clear and it's so obvious he is no longer in pain.  He has fun in the car, and uses Lilly's steps to go up and down.  I can't believe I forgot to take his picture. 

I turned around this afternoon and took Lilly, who is having so much trouble with allergies that she has two bare spots.  She is now on Apoquel for the itching, Ceflex for the infection from the itching skin, tramadol and gabapentin for the pain.  BUT... at least we know what we are dealing with. 

In between, I went to the "Ag" as we volunteers call it, and began to decorate the 
General Store, where I am in charge of make and take crafts for Santa's Express the first two weekends of December.  Braden, our youngest volunteer (HE LEADS TOURS) helped me while his grandpa sorted out decorations.  I am trying to keep the tree as natural as I can, and I am putting real branches on the counter with tiny lights on them as we get closer to our opening of December 2. 
Braden put all the decorations on the tree for me. 

He did a great job, as usual. 

Braden has a birthday next week, on the 21st. 

I'll put a small blanket under that tree, I tried a tree skirt and it was too modern. 


Spooky and Harlequin were on the camera last night in the old henhouse. 


And then, along came Jones.  Actually, several Joneses. 


You can see what the Spookapotamus thought about it. 
I can tell when the raccoons have been there, even if I didn't 
leave the camera overnight... the food I put on the floor is all gone. 

Some mornings lately, there has still been dry food on the floor. 


Here is the thing, this is Tippy, the other black and white cat... and I think I also saw Blackie overnight.  Blackie was the fourth kitten who came just before the raccoons sprung the kittens from the little red henhouse. 
So, all four ferals are still alive.  Remember, these have been vetted and neutered. 

The gray and white kitty who eats at the gate has now been missing about 8 days.  I have not seen my former tenant's black and white kitten for almost 3 months now.  The grey tiger adult feral is also missing. 

Life is hard in the wild. 

At some point this henhouse will be put back into use as a henhouse, but probably not til next spring, I am not in a tearing hurry for anything, any more. 


This clear picture from the Bushnell camera on the porch is clearly Blackie.  He is the most feral of the older kittens. 

Ignore the weather and date, it's from last night. 


Blackie's tail is not "poofy" like Spooky's. 



This little guy visited a few nights ago. 

Lilly rarely senses these visitors any more. 

Ruthlynn had a question about Cogburn, the rooster. 

He is a Buff colored Cochin, a standard breed, and from 
Stromberg's Hatchery in Pine River, Minnesota.  The Stromberg family has been kind enough to support the Ag by donating chickens these last two years.  Unfortunately, we cannot keep roosters... last year, one attacked a child who got into the henhouse.  So, the five roosters were found homes. 

He is gorgeous, and is learning  humanely not to bite  the hand that feeds him. 

I hope you all had as beautiful a day as we had here!  Rain is on the way. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Something Troubling



For two years, I have been a member of a Facebook group called
"Kansas Birding" .  Since Keith was dying a great part of that time, I did not have time to go 
out and take shots and contribute to it, but I loved seeing everyone else's shots. 
I learned so much from it. 

Today, I learned something that hurt my heart.  A man who posts multiple times
daily, and whom I really admired... posted a picture of what appeared to be a cage. 

I jokingly referred to it, saying that sparrows had to eat, too. 

Imagine my surprise as I read down the comments, and realized it 
was a cage to trap and kill sparrows during the winter, which he 
considered a trash bird.  Not release them somewhere, but kill them, 
presumably by drowning, a horrible death. 

I was stunned.  I am still stunned, an hour later. 

This person often shows one of his children with him, teaching him the 
ropes of birding.  What stunned me even more was that there was a long list of 
people cheering him on, also referring to the sparrows and how they polluted everything and ate all the seed. 

I guess it worries me that someone is teaching a child it's okay to love SOME things, but to kill those you don't. 

Those of you who have read Calamity Acres over the nine years I have blogged, 
know me well.  We have had llamas, a pony, mini horses, turkeys, geese, 
chickens large and small, 
beloved dogs and cats, and my dear goats. 

I know what a "trash bird" can do to a henhouse: 



But, you know what?  We didn't poison or kill the starlings. 

As a matter of fact, a  very nice man has been working on this henhouse, which may be ready by spring... and has sealed off all the entry points by which they came in. 
That is how I roll. 

Prevention. 

I know you can't prevent sparrows from coming into your yard, don't worry. 

I feed the starlings, too, along with everything else that's hungry in the 
winter.  To see hundreds of  starlings feeding is something else, and no, I don't love it.  But I work around it.  I feed after they have gone away, so the little birds, blue jays, juncoes, titmice, 
cardinals (last to eat) and the crows, plus all the sparrows... have a chance.  Yes, the bills are higher... so what. 

A former neighbor took his martin houses down in the fall... 
so the sparrows would not take them over. 

Prevention. 

Like I said, I am so disappointed in this person, and have quit following him. 
I'll probably stop following Kansas Birding as well, because, you see... I don't bird in my 
limited time because I want to see hawks and owls and other birds of prey.  I bird because I love all the birds, large and small.  I stopped on a country road this afternoon to watch two swans with 
a group of geese on a farm pond,  but I stop just as much for the smaller birds, too.    It doesn't have to be spectacular. And for the heck of it, I saw a Northern Harrier up close and personal on my way back from the feed store, just before the swans, so see... nature is all around us. 
It doesn't have to be something spectacular. 

Joe Petersburger, a photographer whom I follow on Instagram, often says 
"keep a small footprint, and see what's RIGHT AROUND YOU".  


My beautiful Lilly, just 30 minutes ago.  She is not feeling well, and goes to see the dogtor tomorrow afternoon.   You can't see it in this picture, but there is a large bare spot on her other side, 
and I suspect ringworm, but we will see. 


Not killing this one for doing what comes natural to protective roosters, either. 

He came at me several times today, but got surprised each time.  He will soon learn. Noise and slapping a stick in your hand goes a long way. 



I took twenty minutes to pitchfork out under the roosts in the hen spa. 
Ugh.  Normally I would put this on the compost heaps, but today, I let it 
drop in the henyard for the hens to pick through again, and put fresh straw on the area.  


Jester was loath to start his day this morning, but it turned into a glorious fall day, 
55 and sunny! 

Rant over. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wait a Little Longer

I told you all Monday that I had a surprise for you, but the surprise is 
still not ready.  I am hoping by tomorrow. 

So, I'll show you what's been happening around here. 

First, some background. 
At the first Calamity Acres 20 years ago, I had a number of little pens with 
different chickens in them.  One was a pen with silkies and 
bantam Mille Fleurs, a feisty breed. 

I had a tiny rooster, Boots, who was the feistiest. 

Boots took a dislike to my oldest grandson, Chris, who was 
often there with me.  (Come to think of it, Chris was 2 when this all happened, so it has been farther back than I thought, he is 26 now).  Anyway, Boots took a dislike to Chris, and when Chris went by the pen, Boots would fling himself at Chris, spurs out. 

Chris was startled, but soon got used to it, and they would chase each other around the pen, Chris outside and Bootsie inside. 

Ten days ago, Chris was here housesitting for me. 

On the Sunday I was taking him home to Garnett, he said 
"Do you remember Boots, Gran?" and I laughed and said I did. 

He told me that Cogburn had approached him and done the 
same thing Boots had done, putting his head sideways and staring at 
Chris.  Chris said he believed that Cogburn was getting ready to 
start attacking. 

Sunday afternoon, I was doing chores, and all of the sudden felt myself being whapped on the leg. 

It was Cogburn. 


He was close, WAY TOO CLOSE. 

Every time I am outside now, I am aware he is behind me. 

If I look at him, he stops up short. 


He is very good at pretending he is not stalking me. 

"Don't mind me, I'm just looking for bugs."






At this point, I decided to walk backwards and keep an eye on him. 

(very dicey for me as you know I fall).  I went slowly. 

I got to the porch after leaving the old henhouse, where I  had fed the ferals. 

Guess who was following? 

So it got even crazier when I left to go to the Ag Hall to take care of the flock there. 

I stopped at the gate, got out, and began to open it and 

I looked up to see this! 


Needless to say, I stopped to take the video as he ran out to follow me... he had been in the parking area on the far side of the house.... but as soon as I spoke, he studiously dropped his head and acted like he was not following me.  Notice there is only ONE hen near. 

I'm keeping my eyes out for this one! 


Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Peace of the Weekend

When I was still working full time, our weekends were made up of errands, errands, errands, and maybe some fun included.  Church, of course.  

It seems my life is just as busy now, in retirement, but.... I can hang around here and 
enjoy the peace and quiet when I need to decompress. 

Today has been that kind of day. 

I went to church last night, we have switched now to a 4 PM Saturday service 
since the advent of daylight savings time ending.  It gets us out just as 
the darkest is descending, and I rushed home to lock the hens up, 
because, as we all  know, the raccoons are coming EARLY. 


Here is our beautiful little Maci Lynn, my great-granddaughter 
born a month ago.   She is a beautiful baby and her mother 
Madison is doing a great job of caring for her.  This little bassinet is so 
clever, it rocks itself and plays nursery rhymes. 


Yesterday was our last regular day of the season at the Ag Hall. 
I was able to leave at noon but I was too late for the Veterans Day parade 
in Leavenworth... though I stopped at the cemetery and saw 
Keith and the men and women buried alongside him (Leavenworth National 
Cemetery).  It rained lightly the entire afternoon, and the Ag Hall shut down 
early, so the afternoon lady at the desk was able to leave.  

As you see, Jester did not even want to get up this morning, even though it was 
42 degrees out. 

Harlequin was waiting for me in the old henhouse this morning, waiting for her breakfast.  
I did not see Spooky, I usually see both of them. 
When Chris is here next, I am going to have him bed down the goat barn, in case the kittens want to sleep in there this winter, because I believe the old henhouse is going to be used for HENS 
at that point. 


I found Her Highness on the loveseat in my bedroom this morning.  In fact, I picked her up and cuddled her on the bed and we took a short little nap. 

Some one else told me on Friday that she looks like a baby possum. 


Not sure what it was about Friday night, but the leaves began dropping like hotcakes from the big maple by the deck.  The deck is now covered and so is the yard behind it. 
The million bells plant in the washtub is STILL blooming, as is one of my mums, a bright yellow one. 

I am slowly putting away the deck furniture, Chris can help with that, too. 

I also have met the FIRST hens I have ever had who are not interested in 
eating pumpkins.  I will probably take these over to my friend Diane when I am finished, because hers ARE. 


I LOVE crows. 

There are three here in the morning, waiting for me to put birdseed out. 

Somewhere I have some pictures I took the other night of raccoons on that feeder, so I am 
trying not to put too much out in the afternoons.  
I do post on Facebook, but more often on Instagram, under my own name. 

I think Jester and Twinkle are going to have their own page, soon. 

There is a dark junco behind them, as you see, waiting to come in and eat. 

I noticed that the crows are back at the Ag, too... and one was studiously ignoring me when I was there at noon, waiting to eat some dropped seed. 

I just went to the door to let Lilly in. 


This is Lil, sitting on the step before the door. 

What is remarkable is that there are four crows, the chickens and her sworn enemy, a squirrel, either on, in or around the feeder. 

She was 12 in July.  She did go outside last night at about 8, and ran (sort of) straight for the old henhouse, the one where the kittens eat and the raccoons visit. 
I am loath to let her tangle with a raccoon.  

Then I heard barking, a lot of it, and Jester became agitated and jumped up and down off the sofa, at the window.  I went to the door with my bright, bright spotlight, and there were two young coons on the feeder.  However, I called Lil in and she came immediately.  I think even she realizes she is 
not up to it.  I will call the vet in the morning and get her in this week to find out what is going on. 


I took this through the door window.  If I open the door, they all take off.  The fourth crow had gone to the left.  


This is a brown Leghorn, pronounced "Leggern".  I literally can't open the door 
without everyone coming to see what's up. 


I mean, up close and personal. 

GO LAY AN EGG!!!  (I got three today) 


This is a baby raccoon that I caught the other night right at dusk in the seed feeder.  Lilly was out, but did not see it.  That is not sunlight to the left of the baby, that is Troy's driveway light on, it was already almost dark.  This little guy/girl let me get pretty close to take a picture, (after I gently called Lilly in) and before I got to the house, he/she had gone up the maple tree.  I am not leaving seed out that late now.  

Any pumpkins or squash I DO break up here will be in the pasture, not the yard. 

Speaking of late afternoon chores, it's 3:27 and I have work to do in the kitchen. 

I hope everyone has had a good weekend, and thanks for all your wonderful comments. 

I have kind of a surprise I've been keeping hidden that I will be ready to show you all tomorrow night. 

Thanks to all my veteran friends for your service, I appreciate the one percent of you all giving, even though many do not. 



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wherein I See My Favorite Tree

Somewhere in the bedroom, I hear a sleepy Jester on the loveseat snoring. 

(my letter S won't capitalize!) 

It's the most peaceful sound, the late afternoon sun coming through the windows in the bedroom, and the gentle snoring. 
Twinkle was in here a few minutes ago, and climbed up my leg so many 
times that my leg now feels raw.  She plays all the time, until she is just so 
pooped out, that she can't. 


I have had four days in the last week when I got only 1 to 2 eggs from the 17 hens. 
They are in the middle of a heavy moult.  I am going to start fermenting some 
grain this evening in a small bucket, and serve them fermented grain for a few days 
to get some extra protein in them so they can grow some new feathers. 

I'm taking it to the Ag Hall, too. 

(note what looks like hay in the nest box) 


Two weeks ago, I ordered seven bales of straw. 
Yesterday, I opened my hay shed door, and the sun was shining down on the "straw". 
Am I wrong, or do three of those bales look suspiciously like hay?  The first one I opened 
appeared to be hay.  I don't like to use hay in my chicken house, because it's bad for the hens in a closed space.  One winter we were forced to use hay, there was a huge lack of straw.  
The feed store from whom I bought is very reputable, I should have just called and asked if they got the order wrong.  
Despite it, I will still use them. 



I prefer to use religious cards at Christmas, but I had to buy these when 
I saw them at Marshall's. 


So. Glad. When. She. Poops. Out. 


I literally can't open the door without the hoards coming to see what I'm doing. 


There's Harlequin in the old henhouse yesterday, watching me get her breakfast ready.  


Yesterday, we had our annual volunteer luncheon at the Ag Hall .  We had a wonderful potluck meal, with barbecued meats provided by the 
Ag.  

It was good to see everyone, because even though we are all there a lot, we don't get to all see each other all the time.  It was fun catching up with everyone.  Judy, on the left in the buffalo plaid, is 
the person who is keeping the ag going right now.  Marsha, in the brown striped sweater, is our volunteer coordinator.   Some of the men in this picture are there three days a week as volunteers taking care of the inside and outside, doing repairs to buildings, etc.. We could not operate without them. 


Our two youngest volunteers were modeling the reindeer headdresses for Santa's Express, which is coming up the first two weekends of December.  Local friends it is FREE.  You can see Santa and take as many pictures as you want... ride the train... do make and take crafts in the General Store, and have cookies and hot chocolate in the barn.  
We do accept donations, but YES IT IS FREE thanks to a wonderful sponsor.  Hours are 10 AM to 3 PM, both the first and second Saturdays and Sundays of December. 

These two have been coming to the Ag with their grandparents since they were crawling... what would we do without them? 




and this... THIS, is one reason I moved back. 

Every year I waited for this, it is on the dam between the two deep 
ponds at the bottom of my pasture and the Spehar's land. 

I looked for it for weeks, but did not realize a tree overgrown in my pasture was blocking the view. 

I got out of the car yesterday, and the angle at the top of the drive revealed it in all it's glory.  I 
started crying.  

It was like a huge welcome back for me. 

And now, I'm going to go out and see if there are more than two or three eggs!